Cupping and gua sha (scraping) is a therapy used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to remove stagnation and stimulate the flow of qi (chi). Qi is the free flow of vital energy circulating through the body and the world around us, if the qi is disrupted or disturbed, it can create stagnation (blockages) or imbalances in the body.
Cupping invigorates local circulation of qi and blood in the area being treated, resolving swelling, pain, and tension. By drawing impurities to the surface, it removes toxins. From a Western physiology perspective, cupping loosens connective tissue or fascia and stimulated blood flow to the surface. Cupping stimulates tissue relaxation and better cell-to-cell communication.
Moxibustion is a type of traditional Chinese medicine. It involves burning moxa, a cone or stick made of ground mugwort leaves, on or near your body’s meridians and acupuncture points.
Practitioners believe that the resulting heat helps stimulate these points and improves the flow of qi (energy) in your body. According to traditional Chinese medicine practices, this increased qi circulation can help with a range of health issues, from chronic pain to digestive troubles.
People use moxibustion for a range of issues, including:
gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation
pain, including pain from arthritis, joint or muscle pain, and chronic pain
cold and flu prevention
and to treat breech babies as well.
Tui-na (a combination of massage, acupressure, and other forms of body manipulation) is a form of Asian bodywork therapy that has been used in China for centuries. In a typical tui-na session, the patient remains clothed and sits on a chair or lie down on a massage table. The practitioner will ask a series of questions and then begin treatment. Practitioners may use herbal compresses, ointments, and heat to enhance these techniques. Tui-na is best suited for treating chronic pain and musculoskeletal conditions.
The substances TCM practitioners most commonly use can come from different leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds of plants such as cinnamon bark, ginger, ginseng, licorice, and rhubarb. Ginseng is the most broadly used substance for the broadest set of treatments. If a practitioner recommends Chinese herbology as a treatment, the herbs are combined into a formula that is dispensed in the form of a traditional tea, capsule, liquid extract, granule, or powder.
Gua sha is done when a practitioner applies surface friction to lubricated skin with a rounded tool. Gua sha is commonly used in Asia to treat chronic pain and respiratory ailments. It works by triggering the release of an anti-inflammatory enzyme with cell-protective effects, and it can boost blood flow up to 400 percent throughout the treated area. This can result in immediate and sustained post-treatment pain relief. It can also result in a thermal change in the skin, so patients may feel physically warm during and after treatment.
Gua sha doesn’t always raise the signature bruises, the bruising happens when a person has a lot of pain to deal with, whether it’s emotional or physical.
Gua sha is commonly used to treat:
Carpal tunnel syndrome